Matthew 23:37-24:2 (ESV)
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” 24 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
These passionate words are the last ones Jesus spoke directly to the crowds of Jerusalem as recorded in Matthew. Jerusalem was the place God chose to set up his kingship and the city that flourished under King Solomon when the nation reached her height of economic and political influence. It was the city founded as the center of Israel’s religious activity. It was known as the city of God, the city of David, and a place set high upon the hill. How bizarre to think that this was the city where the Son of God was sentenced to rejection and death. Verse 1 of chapter 24 almost symbolically states that Jesus left the temple. As the disciples admired the beauty of the temple, Jesus prophetically warned them not to be too enamored because soon it would be destroyed. And yet, there was future hope. Jesus will set up his final and glorious kingdom, and all will acknowledge that he has come in the name of the Lord.
Jesus didn’t take the things he spoke of lightly. He was deeply grieved, and he was moved with compassion. He felt like a mother hen, longing to bring her chicks under her wings to protect them and shelter them from harm, but they were unwilling. In times of danger, chicks naturally run to their mother for protection. But instead of turning to Jesus for refuge, the people of Jerusalem sought to put him on a cross. Their opportunity was over. They chose condemnation over salvation. When we see sin and evil and death in the world, we can grow overly discouraged. We must remember that this was not the way God designed things to be. He is patient with all so that as many as possible might come to repentance, but never confuse his patience with tolerance of sin. He hates sin more than we can imagine. It is sin that turned the Garden of Eden into a land of thorns and thistles where the entire creation became subject to decay and where men toil by the sweat of their brow. May we learn to hate sin as much as we should! We shouldn’t be found taking sin lightly, laughing at it, or holding it close to us. Pray that Jesus would help you to see the destruction that sin has created, and ask God to help you would turn from it quickly and completely.